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Research Report

North Korea & the UN Security Council:: Action, Reaction, Trust, and Mistrust

EDUARDO ZACHARY ALBRECHT
Copyright Date: Mar. 1, 2013
Pages: 32
OPEN ACCESS
https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep09581

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. [i]-[i])
  2. (pp. [ii]-[iii])
  3. (pp. 1-1)
  4. (pp. 2-3)

    Arguably, the relationship between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United Nations has long been one of mutual distrust. In June 1950, just five years after the UN was established, the DPRK ignored the results of a UNoverseen election in the South and attacked it. The invasion was brought before the Security Council. Given that the Soviets were busy boycotting the meetings, the council promptly condemned the attack and called on the DPRK to withdraw its troops. This was ignored, the troops stayed where they were, and the Security Council convened once again. This time the use...

  5. (pp. 3-5)

    It is necessary to start by defining more precisely what is meant by the term trust. This is a vague concept, as there are multiple ways of conceiving it. If we are to accurately measure the level of trust between the DPRK and the Security Council, then we must find a way of objectively quantifying it.

    In the field of international relations, the existence of trust among two or more actors indicates “a willingness to take risks on the behavior of others based on the belief that potential trustees will ‘do what is right.’”³ This implies that trust is based...

  6. (pp. 6-10)

    On July 5, 2006, the DPRK conducted a series of seven missile firings. The launches themselves were not illegal and did not break any international treaty, but they did shake up the region quite a bit. Japan immediately proposed a resolution calling for action under Chapter VII of the UN Charter— which opens the way for the possible use of force against an international threat.⁸ China quickly opposed Japan’s proposal, saying that such a measure would just deepen tensions in Northeast Asia, and sent a diplomatic mission to Pyongyang instead. As that mission produced little by way of tangible results,...

  7. (pp. 11-14)

    On October 3, 2006, the DPRK announced its intentions to test a nuclear device. On October 9th the device was detonated, and the KCNA released the following statement:

    The nuclear test was conducted with indigenous wisdom and technology 100 percent. It marks an historic event as it greatly encouraged and pleased the KPA [Korean People’s Army] and people that have wished to have powerful self-reliant defense capability. It will contribute to defending the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the area around it.24

    Immediately, talk of additional sanctions intensified. When the DPRK envoy to the UN was...

  8. (pp. 15-19)

    On April 5, 2009, the DPRK launched a long-range ballistic missile over Japan. This led to a Security Council condemnation by way of a presidential statement, in response to which the DPRK said it would abandon the Six–Party Talks, restart its nuclear facilities, expel international and US inspectors, and conduct another nuclear test. On May 25th the DPRK detonated an underground nuclear device. Japan said the test was “unacceptable” and a violation of the UN Security Council resolutions.41 China chimed in: “The DPRK ignored universal opposition of the international com - munity and once more conducted the nuclear test....

  9. (pp. 20-23)

    In February 2012, the DPRK agreed to a partial freeze in nuclear activities and a missile test moratorium in return for US food aid. Since early 2009, the United States had provided virtually no aid. Relations between the DPRK and the international community were beginning to thaw, as analysts in the West looked upon the new leadership in Pyongyang with a mixture of expectancy and goodwill. That is, until on April 13th the DPRK put an earth observation satellite called Kwangmyongsong-3 (“bright star 3”) onto an expendable carrier rocket called Unha-3 (“galaxy 3”) and hurled it into the sky. The...

  10. (pp. 24-27)

    What conclusions can we draw from this review for the benefit of future actions by the UN Security Council? The good news is that three out of four of the case episodes led to a building of trust. The bad news is that this was not always for reasons entirely under the Security Council’s control. Two general observations can be made. The first is that, unfortunately, it is not uncommon for resolutions to be utilized by the DPRK to reach some kind of strategic objective of its own. Policymakers may want to avoid falling into this kind of trap in...

  11. (pp. 28-28)